D-Generation X, one of the cornerstones of the WWE’s Attitude Era and the formative period that led into it, will be inducted April 6 into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2019.
Both key versions of DX will be recognized as a collective group of six, including Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac.
“I think it’s the most meaningful for us all to go in together and to be recognized together,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque told ESPN. “Because I think both groups were [just] as impactful.”
D-Generation X — a group of wrestlers who collectively helped bring crotch chops and “suck it” into the pop culture mainstream during the peak of its powers — was initially formed in 1997 as a trio featuring Triple H, Michaels and Chyna. To Levesque’s recollection, it was an idea that had been swirling around for some time before a few key events and decisions allowed everything to slide into place.
“It’s a funny thing, because DX was something that, before Kevin [Nash] and Scott [Hall] left, at the time we all talked about using ‘The Kliq’ as it was — kind of morphing that into television, since it was so out there anyway,” Levesque said. “But things worked out the way they did — they left, and the timing was right.
“Shawn and I still wanted to do it. Vince saw the value in it, I guess, and finally let us go at it. By that point in time I was looking for a heater, and we had brought Chyna.”
Historically speaking, when a wrestler wanted to bring in a big, bruising enforcer, the role was always filled by a man. Chyna, a bodybuilder, broke the mold and subverted conventional wisdom within the wrestling world.
“It was completely different. No one had ever had a female [enforcer] before, especially one like that. It just worked out. The timing was right,” Levesque said.
As a trio, Michaels, Triple H and Chyna helped push the envelope as to what was accepted on TV. Their antics, catchphrases and personas made them three of the most recognizable WWE stars of the mid-to-late 1990s. Toward the tail end of their run as a trio, they were all involved in the WrestleMania XIV main event between Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 1998 that famously included Mike Tyson in an enforcer role.
“For me, it was the break of a lifetime, right? My career was on the upswing, and then it had its downswing, due to a lot of [different] reasons. That was an opportunity for me to kind of get back on the right path, get out there and show what I could do. Being next to Shawn, the experience was so great, to be around that level of performer. From [The Undertaker], to Bret [Hart], to everybody else — the learning experience was massive. ”